The decision as to where to incorporate an offshore company can only be made based on the specific features of the transaction in question. It is not possible to make a general assertion that one jurisdiction is always more appropriate than another. This note does not therefore attempt to guide the reader to any one jurisdiction over another. Instead it highlights some of the features common to the Cayman Islands, British Virgin Islands (the "BVI"), Bermuda, Jersey, Guernsey and Ireland, describes certain of the legal requirements in respect of companies in each jurisdiction and examines some of the factors to consider when deciding which jurisdiction to use.
Cayman Islands, Bermuda, British Virgin Islands (BVI), Guernsey and Jersey
The Cayman Islands, Bermuda and the BVI are British Overseas Territories, while Jersey and Guernsey are Crown Dependencies, and as such offer all the security and stability traditionally associated with the British flag. Each jurisdiction is responsible for its own internal self-government, while the United Kingdom remains responsible for external affairs, defence and the courts. All five jurisdictions have an independent legal and judicial system. For the Cayman Islands, Bermuda and BVI those are based on English common law, whilst Jersey and Guernsey are additionally influenced by Norman customary law. Each has a right of final appeal to the Privy Council in London. Each jurisdiction benefits from advanced telecommunications, infrastructure and support services, and an educated and well-trained workforce. In all five jurisdictions, policies and legislation have been developed in close partnership with the private sector to ensure that they meet the needs of the financial community. Through this partnership, the respective governments have established sophisticated and efficient supervision and regulation to safeguard their jurisdiction's integrity while creating an operating environment that is highly attractive to private enterprise.
Ireland is a member of the EU and the only English speaking member of the Eurozone. It has the regulatory, economic and telecommunications infrastructure of a highly developed OECD jurisdiction with a highly educated and well trained workforce. Ireland's legal and judicial system is based on English common law, with its legislation being promulgated by the Irish parliament. The ultimate appellate court is the Supreme Court of Ireland.
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The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.